Hotel near Rushden close to Northants border set to be used to house refugees

The hotel was sold two days ago
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A 42-bed hotel near Rushden that was sold this week is set to house house refugees, a meeting has heard.

The Sharnbrook Hotel off the A6, just over the Bedfordshire border, had been marketed for £3,295,000 – the previous owners the Ciampi Family, exchanged contracts with the buyer of the site on Wednesday, February 1.

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Bedford Borough Council had shared its concerns with the Home Office over the plans.

Sharnbrook HotelSharnbrook Hotel
Sharnbrook Hotel

During a full council meeting on Wednesday (February 1) Cllr Doug McMurdo (Independent, Sharnbrook) had asked the mayor about the plans.

He asked: “Are you aware that the Home Office has decided to use the Sharnbrook Hotel, Park Lane, as a refugee centre?”

Bedford mayor, Dave Hodgson, said: “Yes, I was made aware at the end of last year that they were considering it.

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“The company representing the Home Office had a meeting to discuss our concerns, let us know they hadn’t decided whether it would be families or individuals, and they asked what the issues would be.

“The issues, obviously, were the location in terms of not being in close proximity to services, and how would the people in the hotel get to services, the impact on schooling, and the impact on health.”

The mayor said there had been another meeting, which he couldn’t attend, where these issues were addressed again.

Cllr McMurdo said: “I was actually absolutely appalled to learn yesterday afternoon that the Home Office [are] mobilising in the middle of this month a refugee centre, craftily calling it an asylum hotel, read into that just how you like.

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“But I think this location is wholly unacceptable, and it will put huge pressure on our services within the community.”

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The previous hotel owners, the Ciampi Family, said they had exchanged contracts with the buyer of the site on Wednesday, February 1.

Their spokesperson said: “The family had no idea this was part of the buyer’s plans, and understood that it would become a care home.”

A government spokesperson said: “The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.

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“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 45,500 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6 million a day.

“We engage with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation and work to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.”

The Sharnbrook Hotel, off the A6 at Sharnbrook had been owned by the Ciampi family for the past 16 years.

It was built in 2006 with extensions added in 2016 and features 42 en-suite rooms, private gardens, a large reception area, lounge bar and five function and conference rooms.

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In November a group of asylum seekers has been moved into the Royal Hotel in Kettering town centre by a contractor working for the Home Office.

North Northants Council (NNC) had taken legal action to prevent The Royal Hotel being used as a hostel but dropped legal action.